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upscale, masstige, and mass market products

There is no genuine absolute with regard to the concept of luxury, it's an idea that is contextual. What is considered to be a luxury for someone in a specific place at a particular time depends directly on that person's situation with regard to income, the availability of items, and myriad other factors. Cases in point:

  • In the 1500s, for most working families, meat was a luxury. Nowadays, few people in developed nations can't imagine a meal without some sort of animal protein on their plate, unless they've made the choice to abstain.
  • In some parts of the world, people walk to get where they're going. In others, they ride animals, or self-powered vehicles like bicycles. In still others, people use a motorized vehicle to travel longer distances. In just a few places, though, people drive around in automobiles that can surpass 400 km/h, are wrapped in 24k gold, and offer 18 cup holders. Which one is the luxury item? It depends on where you live and what your disposable income is.
  • Eating fine caviar can be extremely expensive. If you live in New York City, you can expect to pay thousands of dollars for a large portion of fine Caspian Sea beluga or osetra. If you happen to live in the product's region of origin, you may not get first pick of the merchandise but you'll wind up paying peanuts for what's available, and it's often better than what's sold abroad.
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The point is, the perception of luxury is always relative to an individual's social, economic, and cultural context. It's personal. In modern consumer-oriented cultures, just about everyone can get an occasional taste of luxury, such as an evening out at a fine restaurant, a spa day, or a particularly cutting edge piece of technology. There's a clear difference, however, between saving up for a specific, precious purchase and what we could consider to be something more universally perceived to be luxurious. Not many of us can say "I think I'll fly to London this week and get a dozen suits made on Savile Row for this winter, and perhaps pick up a couple of Aston Martins while I'm there."

Offering what used to be considered luxury items to the general public becomes more and more common as time progresses and people find themselves able to afford the items that draw their attention. For some, it's electronics. For others, fashion. For many, luxury is best expressed through the purchase of products designed to pamper, especially cosmetics, fragrances, and upscale personal care products. Enter the concept of the masstige product, designed to offer a luxurious experience to consumers at a lower price tag than would be required to fly to the Champs Elysées.




Often, consumers will make the mistake of thinking that these items are simply re-packaged versions of the 15€ variety with a heftier price tag. In general, nothing could be further from the truth. Most masstige products are high quality items that offer an excellent consumer experience, but thanks to modern techniques related to mass production, storage, and distribution logistics, the prices of these products can be brought down to reasonable margins that a majority of people can afford. The packaging of these products is often seminal to their perception as luxury items. Containers need to be of a good heft though not so weighty as to preclude easy use. Materials of choice for masstige products seem to be glass and wood or wood derivatives, though weighty acrylics are often used.

A masstige product (a prestige brand or item designed to be sold to mass-market consumers) is normally a higher quality item than a counterpart that's commonly sold for the same purpose, and offers either more status (based on the brand and its relation to a lifestyle) or a better experience (a higher quality product or one providing unique properties). Many consumers use cream that softens or reduces wrinkling of the skin, a product which can be considered intrinsically luxurious as it's not required for sustenance, shelter, or any of the other basic needs we have as people. There are wrinkle creams that cost $15 and there are others used under the care of professionals that cost $300 for the same amount of product. Most people will purchase the former, fewer will purchase the latter. Many, however, will opt for the masstige version which will cost between $50 and $90.


Products that require dispensing often feature next generation systems that offer consumers the best experience possible, almost ensuring a repeat purchase. People typically don't notice when a product does exactly what it should, but they never forget when they've shelled out a pretty penny for a malfunction. Dispensing, whether for a personal care product, a cosmetic, or a fragrance, must be fluid, measured, and remain usable from first use through last. This is why packaging firms spend a img04.jpggood portion of their R&D budgets on finding the perfect lipstick tube, pump, or spray. Container shapes and closures in the masstige space are normally more elaborate than their mass market cousins, and offer a clear connection between the consumer's lifestyle choices.

Some opt for the prestige associated with buying a high quality brand, others may feel the product offers a quality that's similar to an aspect of their own personality. Whatever the reason, the perception when buying a masstige item is that it's an excellent purchase, not just an adequate one.

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  • Modified 14 Jan 2016
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